Hidden Treasure

A Movie trailer came on the other day. I have no idea for what movie but a line sprang out of it and landed on my heart.

“Never underestimate the power of Hidden treasure!”

If you believed there was treasure hidden in your backyard wouldn’t you spend hours every day and night with a shovel in your hand searching? Would blisters stop you? Would snow fall of a cold day or the scorching heat of summer? If you believed there were millions in Gold in your backyard nothing would stop you from finding it.

If you believed there was treasure available to you across town or across the globe would you risk life and limb? would you sell your house to finance the trip? After all what is the value of a house compared to the treasure that is in store?

Jesus said something about this in Matthew 13. He said the kingdom of God is like a hidden treasure and like an expensive pearl when you find it you will give up everything!

Friends, what if we are over thinking evangelism? What if we are over analyzing what it means to share our faith? What if evangelism is simply letting people know there is “Gold in them there hills!”  A treasure, actually, more valuable than Gold, silver, a precious gems; It is a treasure that has the ability not only to change lives but to reshape the entirety of the universe. Yes it is that big. It is the good news of Christ.

The good news that sin is forgiven and we can be in union with the creator.

The good news that says all things will be set right.

The good news that says justice will come and righteousness will reign and mercy and grace will be poured out on us.

The good news that says all things are being made new. They are being made new today and will finally be made new in completeness when the day of glory comes.

It is the good news of Christ.

So how do we let people know about this hidden treasure? It is simple. If you have found the treasure – simply go on a spending spree with it.

Grace you received – grace you give

Forgiveness you received – Forgiveness you give

Peace and comfort was dug up like a treasure – Peace and comfort you spend on others.

the message of the life, death and resurrection of Christ you heard and its this message you share.


Go in the grace of God, spending his resources on the world like they will never run out.

Pastor TJ

Sin Stains

I recently was provided with the book  “Just Walk Across the room: Simple Steps pointing people to Faith”  by Bill Hybels

I was happy when the book was given to me. I knew of the recent controversies surrounding Hybels (If you don’t know about it a quick Google search will inform you). However, I received it happily and began reading it happily in efforts to help me be more apt and active in sharing my faith and teaching others to do the same.

I am about 50 pages into the book. If I would have read the book a year or two ago I would have enjoyed it. I would have been encouraged by it . I would have been helped by it.

I thought I could disregard the controversy. I was wrong because sin ripples and sin stains.

With each story of someone he witnessed to and that came to faith I wonder; did they survive the controversy? How has what Bill did affect their faith?

With each story about being led by the Holy Spirit, I am cynical. I wonder if it is true. I wonder if he really was and what else was going on in his life during that plane ride where he shared his faith. I wonder when he Just walked across the room what was going on in the other room with the doors closed.

Sin can’t be isolated. It ripples. It stains. It sticks. It contaminants.

The choices we make in life will affect more than we will truly ever know. The choices we make have deep and lasting ramifications to the kingdom of God.

I don’t know if Bill’s sin has contaminated too much what I can learn from him in this book or any of his others. I don’t know if I can get through the book. This fact may say more about me and possible judgmental attitudes than him. Whatever the case may be, it does illustrate plainly sin stains.

This should give us pause. Stop, think, consider. How has my sin reverberated throughout my life and the life of others? How has my sin contaminated? How has my sin-stained and broken things? How have I fallen way short of perfect? You may not be a sexual predator (or maybe you are) but your bad choices and your sin do affect others whether you want to believe it or not.

There is Good news Jesus cleanses. Jesus purifies. Jesus heals.


If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  – I John 1:8-9


God can do a work in Bill Hybels heart.

God can bring healing to the women Hybels preyed upon

God can forgive me and make me new and He can do the same for you.

The Unchurched Next Door

When is the last time you invited someone to church?

When is the last time you shared the Gospel?

If the only people that showed up to church this Sunday were people you personally invited the last 6 months—would anyone be there?

These are the type of questions I am asking of myself and my church as  I just finished reading “The Unchurched Next Door” by Thomas Rainer.

This is a  pretty easy read and I recommend everyone to read it to get a little encouragement, along with some understanding and perspective.  You can buy it here.

A big recurring theme throughout the book is “If you invite them they will come.” That is if you invite people to church they will come. Rainer and his team interviewed over 300 people that were unchurched. They asked each of them If a friend or family member were to invite you to church would you go? 31% said they would be very likely to go. 51% said somewhat likely and only 18% said not likely at all.

Then what is the problem? Why is it that week after week in many churches, there are few new faces? It is simple; Christians are not inviting their friends and families to church. Take a look at what unchurched people are saying.

“Eric is a trip. We will be talking about the chargers or the Padres, and before you know it, he’s telling me something about his church or God. I really respect him, He doesn’t beat me over the head with his beliefs, but he isn’t shy to talk to me about them. Most of the church people I know act like  they are ashamed of what they believe.” – Peter W

“You know, the two ministers that talked to me were nice enough but, I mean, like that’s their job. But I’d like to get into a conversation with a church person that’s a normal person like me. Why is it that regular church members never talk about religious stuff?”– Harland G.

“I see several of my neighbors leave for church on Sunday Morning. I am usually on the porch reading the paper, or sometimes I mow my lawn. Every time I see them leave, I feel a little catch in my throat. I mean, I know I should be doing something religious, but I just haven’t attended church most of my life … I know these neighbors who go to church. We talk about a lot of stuff. But I never heard them say anything about their church, God, or anything religious. Why is that? If church matters so much to them why don’t they ever say anything about it?” – Elmer Y

“Mike and Jenny and I make more money than any of us ever dreamed. But we’ve talked about how the money hasn’t really made us happier. I know that they go to church regularly, so I sometimes hint to see if they’ll say anything about it. One time we got into this real serious discussion about important things in life. I decided just to ask them outright if church was important to them. You should have seen how red their faces turned….I just can’t understand it. I think I’m really searching for something, but no one seems to want to talk to me.”  – Sharon W.

“I probably would attend church if someone invited me, and the closer the friend the more likely I would attend.”–John E.

These are real things that real people said. People wanting and searching and wondering why God’s people are silent.

Is it really simple as a conversation? Does all it take is a simple invite? From the data Rainer and his team collected the answer seems to be yes. From my own experience, I will say I have invited several(not enough) people to church throughout my life. I also have not invited others (too many). Something I noticed is that it is far more likely for someone whom I invite to come than someone that wasn’t invited.

This week call your friend, call that family member and simply say “ Hey I was wondering if you would like to join me this Sunday at church.”  you might be surprised at what happens.

Other insights from the book.

There is much more information, stories and encouragement found in “The UnChurched Next door” and perhaps one day I will write more about it. However, I believe the above 700 words faithfully capture the heartbeat of that 250-page book.


Grow Series: Seed – Treasuring God’s Word

Rather than put that audio of the past 2 weeks messages or even the transcript, I wanted to share the “booklet” that I distributed at church. This “booklet” is informational and contains much of the same heart as the last 2 sermons that were preached he at Goodhope Nazarene. I hope this information is useful to you.

The B-I-B-L-E! Yes, that’s the book for me. 

Your word is a lamp for my feet,

a light on my path.

Psalm 119:105


What is the Bible?

There are many ways to answer this question. Some say Scripture is a legal contract between God and man. Others say it is God’s instruction book for Life (BasicInstructionsBeforeLeavingEarth). Some have called the Bible, “God’s love letter to humankind.” All of these definitions have value and capture an element of what scripture is. When I think about what the Bible is there are 3 big ideas that come to my mind.

  1. The Bible the primary way that God speaks to us today.
  2. The Bible is an epic collaborative story about God, the creator, seeking out his lost children.
  3. When that story is told it acts as a beacon that leads His kids to Him – A trail of breadcrumbs that leads to the banquet of Christ.

The Church of the Nazarene makes this statement about scripture in the fourth Article of Faith:

We believe in the plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, by which we understand the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, inerrantly revealing the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation, so that whatever is not contained therein is not to be enjoined as an article of faith. (Luke 24:44-47; John 10:35; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Peter 1:10-12; 2 Peter 1:20-21)[1]

Christian do and should have a high view of scripture. However, along with our view and definitions of scripture, we need to make sure that our daily life habits match our understanding of scripture. Are we reading the instructions? Are we pondering the love letter? Are we learning the story? Are we allowing God to speak to us through Scripture on a daily basis?

Hopefully, this booklet will be of use to you as you seek to make scripture a part of your daily Life.

Where to Start

 The first thing you need to do is get a Bible translation that you can understand. The question is often asked, “Which version is best?” or “Which translation should I get?” Each translation has its purpose and its strong points and to compare each one in this booklet would be too much. The best answer to “Which one?” is the One you will read and understand. Take some time and go to a Christian bookstore or visit a Bible website like BibleGateway and read different translations see which one you like and understand and go with that one. If you need more assistance in this or want more information about Bible translations talk to your pastor.

Once you have a translation that works for you then make time to read each day. There are a lot of resources out there that can give you a schedule on reading the Bible through in a year and other similar types of reading plans (if you need help finding something like this ask your pastor).

Some, when reading the Bible, will start at the front and try and read it through to the end. Usually, when people attempt this they only get so far before giving up. If you are new to the Bible I would recommend starting with the story of Jesus in one of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John).

Not a hotdog eating competition

 It is also important to remember scripture reading is not a hotdog-eating contest. The point is not to see how much and how fast you can read. Scripture is the primary way in which God speaks to us today. Approach it that way. Begin with prayer asking God to speak to you and to help you understand as you read. Read a chapter or a section and stop and think about it, pray some more, write down any thoughts you may have about it in a notebook or even in the margins of your Bible. Thank God for speaking to you and look for ways to incorporate what God has communicated to you into your daily Life.

Stay Encouraged

You will sometimes read and you will come to things you do not understand. Or sometimes you will read and it will seem empty and pointless. Sometimes you may forget or get sidetracked for a day or two and not read anything. It is times like this that discouragement can sink in and it can cause us to give up. Stay encouraged and don’t give up.

  • If you don’t understand something write it down and ask! No one knows or understands everything. It is okay to ask. When you ask others or talk to others about scripture you will not only learn and gain understanding but you will also gain deeper friendships with those around you.
  • If it seems dry and empty. Talk to God about it and let him know. Ask him to breath life into your reading. Also remember not every meal hits the spot but every meal is beneficial to our physical health and nourishment. The same is true with our spiritual health and scripture reading.
  • If you forget a couple days you may be tempted to just call it quits. Don’t do that! Just start again today.

As you are faithful in seeking God in His word your life will be filled more and more with the love of God. Also as you seek God the enemy will fight against you to keep you from encountering God. Be strong and courageous the Lord is with you.

Make a Plan

Stop right now and make a plan.

When will you make time in your day for scripture and prayer?

What book of the Bible will you begin with?

Who can you ask to keep you accountable and who are some people you can ask when you have questions?

More than Reading

Engage God in scripture it is about more than reading. Throughout the Bible, we are instructed to study, meditate upon, and memorize scripture. It is my hopes that this booklet will give you what you need to get you started engaging God through study, meditation, and memorization of Scripture.


In Acts 17:11 we learn that the Bereans were more noble than others because they searched the scriptures to find out if what Paul said was true.  They didn’t simply take his word for it but they studied to find the truth. In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he tells him to “Study to show himself approved” (2 Tim 2:15) then later in that letter he tells Timothy that scripture is useful in teaching, correcting, and training in righteousness. (2 Tim 3:16-17).  The study of Scripture is beneficial and it is also necessary for understanding

We sometimes think we can simply open up the Bible and read it and completely understand it. While that is often true it is not always true. Just think of how many times the Bible has been used and applied incorrectly by well or ill-intentioned people. Additionally, even with the things, we can understand think of how much more we can understand when we properly study the passage. To be faithful stewards of scripture and rightly handling the word of truth we need to put in the effort and study. But how?

How to Study the Bible. [2]

There is a popular three-step Bible Study method that is easy to learn and easy to follow. It is a method that can be used by someone just getting started studying scripture as well as someone who is a veteran. It can be used for short studies or long in-depth studies.  The three steps are:

  1. Observation
  2. Interpretation
  3. Application

Step 1 – Observation

In this step, you observe as much as you can in the passage. Start by reading the passage 2 or 3 times. Take a look at the surrounding context. Look at the passage in different translations if you are able and notice any differences in word or phrasing choices.

Ask these type of questions.

  1. Who wrote it and who did they write it to?
  2. If it is a narrative who is speaking and who are they speaking to? What happened to cause the conversation or actions in the passage?
  3. Who are the characters in the passage? What do we know about the characters
  4. When was it written?
  5. When does the story take place?
  6. Where does the story take place?
  7. What are the keywords or ideas in the passages?
  8. Are there any repeated phrases?
  9. Is there any cause and effect or comparisons?
  10. Ask other questions of curiosity. Any question that comes to mind as you read the text write it down.

Do your best to answer the questions. First, see if the passage itself offers an answer. See if the context offers an answer. Refer to outside resources such as Study Bibles, Commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and concordances.

Realize that not all the questions will be answered and that is okay! Also, understand that there will be different opinions about some of the answers and that is okay too! This first stage is an exploratory process where you are trying to see and understand exactly what the text says and who it says it to.

Final notes regarding the observation step, throughout this step, pray, pray, and pray some more for God’s guidance and wisdom. Also, don’t get overwhelmed! depending on your time and ability this first step can be involved and in-depth or as simple as you want it to be. The idea is to do what you can and what God leads and always remember you can ask your pastor or other teachers for help.

Step 2 – Interpretation

In the first step, we do our best to determine what the Bible passage said in this step we do our best to discover the meaning. The question we are trying to answer is “ What is the main idea/ intent,/message of this passage? To discover this we take everything we learned in the first step and do our best to sort it all out. When considering the meaning or purpose of a passage we must consider 5 things

  • Context – what is the flow of thought are we jumping in at the beginning middle or end of this thought process? How do the  surrounding verses relate to the passage? How do the surrounding chapters tie into the passage? How does the passage fit into the content of the whole biblical book?
  • Cross Reference – Can we gain insight on this topic from other places in scripture?
  • Culture – how does the culture of the book/writer factor into our understanding. We need to remember the Bible wasn’t written down the road last week, but thousands of years ago on the other side of the world. The historical/ cultural context of the Bible is hugely important.
  • Conclusion – after considering all of the above make a conclusion about the meaning and purpose of the passage.
  • Consultation – Check what other people have said about this passage with the use of study notes, commentaries, sermons etc. Do they agree or disagree with you? Does your conclusion need to be adjusted? Always be cautious if your conclusion is drastically different than Biblical scholars and the historical teachings of Christianity. Additionally just because 1 commentary disagrees doesn’t mean you are wrong look at various thoughts and weigh them out and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you.

Step 3 – Application

Step 3 is the end goal. We want to become more like Christ and we want his will and way to be done in our lives. Therefore, after we have done the above work we then figure out how the passage impacts our life.

Ask the following questions after every passage of Scripture you study:

  • How does the message of this passage affect my relationship with God?
    ●How does the message of this passage affect my relationship with others?
    ●How does the message of this passage affect me?

The application step is just about simply answering these questions. The idea is acting on what is discovered in scripture. As you actively try to faithfully respond to what God reveals to you God, our creator, will bless you and you will be transformed more and more into the image of Christ.


What is meditation? In some systems of thinking meditation is the clearing of one’s thoughts and mind. It is the image of the person sitting cross-legged chanting something over and over again. However, this is NOT what is meant by meditating upon scripture. Meditating upon scripture is not the act of emptying your mind but filling it with God’s truth as found in Scripture. Take a look at Psalm 1.

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.[3]

This passage answers some questions for us. Meditating on God’s law is something done by those who delight in it. If we delight in scripture it will be on our thoughts often. Meditating on scripture is something that can be done day and night. In other words, it can be done throughout the course of a normal day. It can be done while we are out and about doing other things and it can be done as we sit quietly before the Lord.  When we keep God’s word before us and in our minds, it will lead to stability, faithfulness, and fruitfulness. So how do we meditate on Scripture?

The Hebrew word for meditate in Psalm 1 is hagah.  The possible definitions of this word will help us understand what is meant by it. The Dictionary of Biblical languages gives these definitions.

  1. growl, i.e., the sound of a lion (Isa 31:4)

2.meditate, ponder, give serious thought and consideration to selected information, with a possible implication of speaking in low tones reviewing the material (Jos 1:8);

3.speak, utter, i.e., talk in normal tones so others can hear (Job 27:4; Ps 37:30; 71:24);

4.moan, groan, lament, i.e., make soft sounds expressing grief and sorrow (Jer 48:31);

5.plot, plan, i.e., to think and so decide a course of action, with a focus that verbal exchange takes place (Ps 2:1);

6.decide, weigh, i.e., make a judgment about something after a thought process (Pr 15:28);

7.mutter, i.e., to speak in low, hushed tones (Isa 59:3, Isa 8:19[4]

We can see from this range of meaning that to meditate on scripture means to think about it, consider its meaning, speak it to yourself, speak it to others, use it for decision making. Essentially it is letting it fill every area of your life! Isn’t that much more exciting than sitting cross-legged and saying “ooohm”!?

As you do your reading and studying of scripture pick a verse or two that is particularly impactful to you and keep it on your mind throughout the day. Share it with others, preach it to yourself, quote it to yourself, pray it and look for ways to put it into practice.

The more you read scripture the more you study it and memorize it the easier it will be to meditate on it.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Colossians 3:16[5]


If you grew up in church then you will remember your Sunday school teachers encouraging and bribing you to memorize Bible verses. However, somewhere along the line as we got older something happened and we simply stopped trying or even considering memorizing Bible passages. If you didn’t grow up in church and came to faith later in life then you may or may not have considered memorizing Bible passages. Why should we make scripture memorization a part of our Christian life?

  1. We saw previously the exhortation in Psalm 1 to meditate on God’s word this becomes easier when we know his word.
  2. Memorizing Scripture helps us fight sin (Psalm 119:11, Matthew 4)
  3. Jesus memorized scripture (Matthew 4)
  4. When we know scripture we can encourage one another with it and share it with unbelievers
  5. The list can go on and on.


I already know what most of you are thinking. I can’t memorize because [insert reason here]! It is true some people have an easier time memorizing things than others however the more you work on memorizing the better your memory becomes. So if you wish you could memorize bible verses better and if you wish your memory were better then simply start doing your best to memorize scripture and as you put in the effort your memory will improve.

Also, I think we convince ourselves it is something we can’t do and that our brain simply doesn’t memorize stuff, but take a moment and think of all the music lyrics you know. Think about the movie lines you can quote. Think about all the people’s phone numbers you know and how you remember who used to live in that house down the street 30 years ago. Consider how you can walk into a grocery store to the correct aisle and the correct shelf and the correct position on the shelf and grab the brand of peanut butter you like. All of this is not meant to guilt you but to encourage you and say your memory is probably better than you think!


Here are some tips to help you memorize scripture.

  1. – You will never be able to do it if you don’t try. Even if you don’t get it quickly or perfectly isn’t being able to paraphrase a verse and know about where it is better than not trying and not knowing at all?
  2. Repeat – repetition is our friend. The more you repeat something the more it lets your brain know it is important. Your brain stores the most important information closest to the surface for easiest access.
  3. Put it to music. Sing the words of the verse to a tune. You can make one up or you can find people who have already done this. Using different parts of your brain will help cement the verse in your mind.
  4. Visualize the verse or assign images to each phrase. We are visual and spatial people. If you read Psalm 23 while picturing a shepherd and sheep. Put it together as a movie in your head that will help you remember the words. Optionally assign an image to each phrase. The images are easier to remember and as you remember each image you will remember the words that are attached to it.
  5. Pray – Ask God for help — we do believe God helps us right?
  6. Find a friend to memorize with you. You can practice together and hold one another accountable.
  7. Write it down and carry it with you. Look at it throughout the day
  8. Read it out loud
  9. Choose a verse that is meaningful to you.
  10. Try – you will never memorize it if you don’t try. There are 52 verses listed on the back of this booklet to help get you started. Go ahead and give it a try!


[2] This section is adapted from.  https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/tips/3-simple-steps-for-studying-the-bible.html

[3]Psalm 1:1-3 NIV

[4]Swanson, James. Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament)1997 : n. pag. Print.


Christians are Hate -Filled Hypocrites and other Lies you’ve been Told

I was recently reading through the bookOrganic Outreach for Churches” by Kevin G. Harney. This book is all about how churches can naturally and organically reach people around them. One of the points he makes is that our outreach is stifled if we do not love the church. After all, why would we invite others to be a part of something that we really aren’t that fond of ourselves?

But how can we really get excited over the Church when every time we turn around we are seeing a story about a Christian leader caught in a scandal, or a group of Christians picketing a funeral, or researchers that claim that the church is declining at a rapid rate and we are losing all our young people and no one likes Christians. We don’t want to be a part of something like that much less invite others to join us Its like when one of my brothers or sisters would pull a forgotten Tupperware container out of the fridge and upon opening it would exclaim, “Ugh that stinks … here you smell!”

Um no thanks!?

Is the church perfect? Well of course not, but are there great reasons to love her? Absolutely! Here is the thing, we know the church isn’t perfect but did you know that Christianity is doing much better than we are led to believe?

Kevin Harney suggested in “Organic Outreach another book. A book that sounded incredibly interesting. A book that for the time being (until I read something else) has become my favorite book.

“Christians are Hate-Filled Hypocrites…And Other Lies You’ve Been Told” By Bradley R.E. Wright.

This book is full of great information and sprinkled with just enough sarcastic humor to keep it fun. He looks at multiple assumptions and popular opinions about Christianity and looks at the data to determine if it is true.

To put it simply – We can all calm down —- things are NOT as bad as we have been sometimes led to believe.

  • Christianity is not on the brink of extinction.
  • We are not losing all of our young people
  • Christian’s do love each other and we are not just as sinful as the world.

While all of these things run contrary to the sensationalist headlines that would lead us to believe Christianity is on its way out and we are all hate-filled hypocrites, this good report shouldn’t be a surprise to us.

It shouldn’t be surprising that God’s church is thriving.
It shouldn’t be surprising that people’s hearts and lives are truly transformed by the power of Christ – after all, didn’t he transform your life and weren’t you added to his kingdom?


Wright writes, “ This positive message is very different from what we often hear from Christian leaders, teachers, and researchers. Their message can go something like this: American Christianity is rapidly dying, and Christians are immoral, disliked, and not very good at being Christians, So…go invite your friends to join us.”

If you have $6 and a little bit of time jump on Amazon and get a copy and perhaps it will help you go with confidence to your friends, families, and neighbors inviting them to join the Christian movement that is sweeping the world and changing lives for the better.

Grass and Gardens

This year my family and I planted a garden. This is a first for us and we are excited to see how it all turns out. One reason that we planted a garden is we like vegetables — and what better than garden fresh vegetables! Another reason I think starting a garden would be beneficial for me is for the spiritual lessons that can be learned and illustrated with the process of gardening. Take a minute sometime and scan through your Bible from the Old Testament to the new and you will find many many illustrations and lessons that use the process of planting and growing and harvesting as a backdrop or illustration. Jesus used agricultural imagery frequently in his teachings and yes the concepts can be understood even if you have never put a seed in soil and watered it but how much more impactful it is if you know exactly – from experience- what Jesus is talking about.  So I planted a garden.

I was poking around in my garden yesterday. Sometimes poking around in it for me simply means looking at it and being amazed at how fast everything seemed to pop up. looking at the bright green growing from the dirt with excitement and anticipation of what is to come. But yesterday I noticed some weeds growing in the garden very small ones almost unnoticeable. At first, I wasn’t even sure if they were weeds or something I had planted. However, after careful examination, I saw that these little green leaves that were popping up didn’t look anything like any of the other plants. Looking at them closer I saw that looked the same as the grass in my yard. In fact, if this little weed had been growing 10 feet away I would have called it grass rather than a weed, but it wasn’t growing 10 feet away it was in my garden and it had friends so they were weeds.

Isn’t it interesting that on one side of the 12′ tall cedar board that defines the perimeter of my garden the grass is natural, expected, understood, even perhaps desirable, but on the other side – on the inside- of the garden the weed is invasive, unnatural, not welcome, dangerous and needs to be removed.

That is a picture of what holiness is.

Holiness is a church word. We talk about it and we say we want it in our lives but what is it?

To be Holy means to be set apart — set apart for a particular purpose.

When it comes to my backyard that 4×8 space is set apart for a purpose. The purpose of producing vegetables anything within that space that works contrary to that purpose is unwanted. It is defiling. Even a blade of grass that grows anywhere else in the yeard would be normal — here in the garden, it is not normal.

God has made us (those who have put our faith and trust in Christ) Hol. He has set us apart for a particular purpose and that purpose is to Produce fruit that glorifies the father (John 15). All around us, there are things that society would call normal. Things that are expected. things that are desired. Things that it would be strange for someone to heat us calling a weed because to them it looks like grass.

However, if we bring those things into our lives- the garden God has planted- it would be detrimental to our purpose it would be defiling. When we discover these things they must be removed.

May God bless you this week. May you continually be made more and more into the image of Christ and as you remain in him may he produce the fruits of godliness inyour life. Amen


If you are a moviegoer you may have experienced this. The movie is coming to a climactic point.

  •  The man is about to profess his love
  • Batman and Superman are about to find out that their moms are both named Martha
  • Spiderman is about to find out it was his girlfriend’s dad all along
  • The evil professor is about to profess faith in Christ.

Then you hear from the seat next to you or the row above you, “SLLLUUUUUURRRRRRRPPP!” Someone trying to force the last drops of Mountain Dew up the straw and into their mouth and as they do so the air and liquid fight for space in the straw and the noise of the battle reverberates across the theater. I mean they have to get it all out of there because there are no free refills at the movies. The most annoying part is not the noise that is being made, but you know just as well as I do( because at one point or another the sound of that slurp came from our own straws) that the person struggling to get those last drops of sweet green liquid is experiencing no hydrating satisfaction. They are only getting a few drops of watered down soda because the cup is empty.

Have you ever felt like that? Empty. Trying so hard to keep going but there are only a few watered down drops left in the cup. The only use it has is to distract others and frustrate the drinker. This happens to the best of us and it seems to happen more and more and more. Because we are always on the run, always have a meeting or an event on the schedule. Always working more hours to have more money. Always drinking from a cup expecting an endless supply of “go” only to be let down.

Take some time this week — and every week.  Slow down. Rest. Trust God. Go to the counter and get a free refill – the movie theater won’t give you that, but God will.


Matthew11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Chirping Birds.

I awoke this morning to the sounds of chirping birds. Not too long ago the ground was covered in 6 inches of snow and even more recently there was a sheet of ice that engulfed everything. Winter is a time of death. The grass is no longer green. There are no more leaves on the trees. The squirrels are hidden away. Everything is drab, dreary and cold. In the winter we like to huddle up by the fire, wrap ourselves in a blanket, drink some cocoa or cider, put on Netflix and wait. We wait for the glorious spring. We wait for flowers to bloom. We wait for squirrels to come out and play. We wait for leaves to fill the trees. We wait for chirping birds and we wait for life. 

This morning I awoke to the sounds of birds chirping, but it is still winter, it is still cold, it is still dreary the trees are still bare. The birds reassured me that winter is almost over and spring is almost here. the season of death is almost over and life will soon emerge. 

We Christians are in the season of Lent a season of preparation for Springtime – for Resurrection Sunday the day Christ triumphantly rose from the grave. It is not here yet, but the birds are chirping, “It is almost here!”

Not only are we now observing this season of Lent, but from the time of the apostles till now the world has been in the winter waiting for the springtime. Winter constantly assaults our senses we feel it in our bones, we see the dreariness, the cold even seems to have a smell, but our ears hear something else our ears hear the birds chirping our ears hear springtime. It will soon be here the day we rise with Christ. The day winter ends and springtime goes on in perpetuity. 

Now, since our message is that Christ has been raised from death, how can some of you say that the dead will not be raised to life? If that is true, it means that Christ was not raised; and if Christ has not been raised from death, then we have nothing to preach and you have nothing to believe. More than that, we are shown to be lying about God, because we said that he raised Christ from death—but if it is true that the dead are not raised to life, then he did not raise Christ. For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is a delusion and you are still lost in your sins. It would also mean that the believers in Christ who have died are lost. If our hope in Christ is good for this life only and no more, then we deserve more pity than anyone else in all the world. But the truth is that Christ has been raised from death, as the guarantee that those who sleep in death will also be raised.
(1 Corinthians 15:12-20)